Box CEO and cofounder Aaron Levie opened a Box conference in London on Tuesday with an apology for Donald Trump.
Levie, who IPO’d the content management platform at $1.6 billion (£1.1 billion) in 2014 when he was just 29-years-old, said he feels like he needs to apologise for the Republican presidential candidate wherever he goes.
Speaking to UK Box customers at the Box World Tour event, Levie said: “Before I get started, I want to apologise on behalf of America for Trump.
“Pretty much anywhere I go at this point I’m mostly just apologising for America.”
Trump’s controversial stance on issues such as immigration and foreign policy has been questioned around the world but it’s rare for US technology leaders to open conferences with political jokes.
At the conference, Levie went on to announce that Box is launching “Box Zones” in May, allowing its 57,000 customers to store their data outside the US. Specifically, Box is going to allow customers to store their data in IBM and Amazon Web Services data centres in Japan, Singapore, Ireland, and Germany.
In a press conference after his keynote, Levie said: “We could build out a bunch of data centres [ourselves] or we could leverage partners who build them far more rapidly than we do.” When questioned about other regions that Box might expand into, Levie said: “You can imagine us having support for many more data centres in coming years. We’re j
ust getting started. “
Rival Dropbox announced in February that it will allow its customers to store their data in Germany as of this autumn.
Levie claimed that local laws and data residency regulations have prevented many companies from “getting the most” out of the cloud, adding that Box Zones is about addressing these challenges and “unlocking adoption of the cloud on a global scale.”
Levie stressed his point in a blog post due to be published on Tuesday, writing “hospitals in France or financial services firms in Germany face strict regulations around where their files are stored, leaving them with a limited set of options, and keeping many of these enterprises stuck on legacy infrastructure.”
Governments, companies, and individuals became increasingly concerned about storing their data in the US after the Snowden revelations showed that US intelligence agencies are able to access data held in US data centres by large US tech companies.
Levie told Business Insider that he wasn’t sure if Box lost any customers as a result of the Snowden revelations. He refused to say whether the US government had asked Box to hand over any information on its customers.
Business Insider asked Levie and Robert LeBlanc, senior VP of IBM Cloud, if there was any possibility of IBM acquiring Box in the near future. Both Levie and LeBlanc declined to comment.